Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 14, 2016

Tennessee Primary Results: Fleischmann Squeaks By; DesJarlais Race Still Close

DesJarlais faced a big challenge. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated: 11:00 a.m. | It was a night of small margins in Tennessee Thursday with one House Republican narrowly defeating his primary challenger and another clinging to a 33-vote lead headed into Friday morning.

The Associated Press called the race for Rep. Chuck Fleischmann with 98 percent of precincts reporting in Tennessee’s 3rd District. Fleischmann garnered 50.8 percent of the vote against venture capitalist Weston Wamp, the son of former Rep. Zach Wamp.

Fleischmann will face Democrat Mary Headrick in November, a contest rated Safe Republican by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Over in the Volunteer State’s 4th district, initial numbers showed Rep. Scott Desjarlais with a 33-vote lead with all precincts reporting, but those numbers were updated Friday morning, and left DesJarlais trailing by 2. The AP has not yet called that race.

Revelations that DesJarlais had encouraged an ex-wife and a mistress to have multiple abortions, and that he carried on multiple affairs with patients and co-workers, dried up the congressman’s cash flow and earned him a spot on CQ Roll Call’s list of the 10 most vulnerable members of Congress.

As DesJarlais saw his war chest diminish, Tracy raked in funds for his bid. As of July 18, Tracy had outspent DesJarlais by a more than 3-to-1 margin, including ads and mailers that hit DesJarlais on his personal scandal. No matter the outcome of the primary, the district is rated a Safe Republican contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Christina Bellantoni and Cameron Easley contributed to this report.


Editor’s note: This post was updated to reflect Tennessee’s proper nickname.


Related stories: 

Scott DesJarlais’ Re-Election Hopes Rise, Despite Abortion Scandal

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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  • MargaretEDavis

    I guess the people of “TN finally read the reports about DesJarlais. You know the guy who admitted to getting at least three of his patients pregnant and then paying for their abortions. I suppose some republicans do have a conscience.

  • NoVestedInterest

    Tennessee is not the Bluegrass State; it is the Volunteer State.

  • NickP

    Chuck Fleischmann clinging to a 33-vote lead with all precincts reporting?
    Back in 2000 George W, Bush won the race for president with only about 500 winning votes in Florida. That led to a recount. Fleischmann should do the same. A recount.

  • View From The Left

    Usually in elections that end up that close (33 votes, 2 votes), the recount is automatic by law.

  • NickP

    A new recount is its way. Thanks.

  • bpai99

    Morally, Scott DesJarlais is fully qualified to represent the Party of God and Family Values. He and David Vitter could make an awesome presidential ticket in 2016.

  • terjeanderson

    Not Fleischmann – he won by about 1450 votes. Close, but not recount territory.

    It was Desjarlais who was ahead by 33 votes – but this morning a new count shows him trailing by only 2 votes.

    Tennessee does not have an automatic recount law – but clearly the losing candidate in a race this close can request one.

    BTW – there was no recount in Florida in 2000. The US Supreme Court intervened to prevent any recount from going forward.

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